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It has become painfully obvious that my little dog has been eating too much junk food and not enough real food. We didn't notice that he'd gained so much weight until he tore his ACL and went to the vet. In between visits he has gained over 2 lbs. That's a lot for him. He spent most of his life at about 6 lbs and now he's 9 lbs. The vet recommended surgery, but I want him to lose some weight before that is considered. The vet said to limit calories to 200 per day. He has a tiny mouth and doesn't like hard food that much, so I have been giving him canned food. The problem is, he will only eat a little bit and, then looks at me like I am torturing him. He even tried to bury it under a blanket. Tonight I got my husband to pretend he was eating it like it was people food, to fake out Chico, and it actually worked. He's always liked canned food before, so I don't know what to make of it.

He just went to the vet on Monday, so we are all adjusting to a new diet. I'm thinking that since he is so used to getting treats, he is just waiting for us to give him some.

So, I'm cutting out the treats, at least for now, until he starts eating "regular" food. I'm going to continue to offer wet food to Chico several times a day for 20 minutes at a time. What is a good way to entice him to eat? Warm it up a little? Try a different brand? I think that at this point it is mostly a battle of wills, and that he will eat when he is hungry.

I'm just worried about him.

Chico is a 14 year old Chihuahua mix.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have!

Jennifer
 

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I would try a grain free food like this and no treats at all. I have a picky eater and since my husband has stopped giving her a bite of whatever he is eating all day long she is eating her dog food which my husband has always insisted she hates. Since you have a small dog Honest Kitchen may be an option for you. It is human food prepared for dogs. This will give your dog a lot more nutrition than canned food. Also I would try this it worked great for my hound when he injured his leg.
http://www.supersnouts.com/jointpower/
I would order the samples and try it to see if its a good fit for your dog.
Grain Free | The Honest Kitchen
Natural Dog Food Samples | The Honest Kitchen
 

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I had a little dog (about 7 pounds) that when she got old, she got a tooth infection, and we risked dental surgery to fix it, but an abscess then formed on the roof of her mouth and that took time to heal.

But what happened, was that due to that long term mouth pain...she started to associate food with pain...because it hurt when she ate. It took me some time to get her to eat again. Her problem wasn't weigh gain, but weight loss...and me trying to prevent it.

Being she was a small dog and I could afford it at the time. I finally just scrapped canned dog food. Dry was out of the question due to her lack of teeth. I tried everything to get her to eat the canned stuff but she was afraid to eat it.

So I switched to chicken. I bought chicken breasts in bulk packages. And I fed her that. Through trial and error this is what I came up with to keep her going.

I would take 1 breast, put it on a plate with water and nuke it in the microwave for several minutes until cooked.

In her bowl, I put several spoons of Gerber baby food...instant rice cereal and pour the hot water from the cooked chicken into it and moisten the cereal with it. Then I would add a small pat of butter to that and then run the chicken breast under some cool water as I tore it a part into small bits and I would add that to the rice and butter mix. I would then add a few drops of liquid doggy vitamins.

I figured the chicken gave her protein, the butter gave her a fat, the rice a carb, and the doggy vitamin made up for other things lacking in the above.

I asked my vet about it, and she said that it was an o.k. diet, because at least the dog would eat it when she wouldn't eat anything else...even hamburger..or eggs.
And I tried Everything with that little dog... raw food, cooked food, cat food, eggs, cheese, hamburger...ect... and the only thing I could get her to eat was that chicken....and even then sometimes I would have to dab a little on my finger and put it in her mouth to get her to taste it.

I knew my little dog only had a few years left, so I didn't mind the extra work in fixing her meal...which only actually took about 5 or 6 minutes from start to finish.
Prior to that, she just use to eat dry dog food....but as her teeth went, I switched to canned...but then as I said, that even stopped due to all the mouth pain she had and her associating it with more pain when she ate her food.

Good luck with you little dog.

Stormy
 

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At that age there could be many reasons why he is not eating. How are his teeth? most small dogs by that age have bad teeth. Have you had a senior blood panel done recently? It is a really good idea to do that on a regular basis when they are that old, so you can catch any issues with the kidneys, liver, diabetes, etc....many issues will affect the appetite.

But as he is so small, it is not good for him to go without eating, he could have blood sugar problems (even though he is overweight). He needs to get at least a small amount down at least 2 times a day. If he doesn't like that food, get something better, keep trying until you find something he likes.

All the food that he eats needs to be very nutritious, especially as he is cut down in calories. No human food! No treats unless they are very nutritious (like real meat). Some of the packaged treats in grocery stores have atrocious ingredients that are not good for dogs. Keep carbs to a minimum to speed weight loss. Dogs have no real need for carbs.

Stormy has a good point in that, at his age, give him what he wants! as long as it is nutritious. Don't force him to eat something he hates.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for all your suggestions!

I am thinking that he doesn't like the dog food because he's been eating the doggie version of snicker's bars for all meals. Now that he's learning that he isn't getting any treats, he is slowly eating more of the wet food. I've found that he doesn't eat as much when I watch him, so I put him down with the bowl and went around the corner and he licked it clean. It wasn't a full helping, but I think he's on his way. I have been warming it up, and I think that makes a difference too. We do have a ton of eggs he'd eat, but I don't know how to fix them, or how many. Zeus gets the leftover canned food and has been holding out for that, even though he usually eats hard food. He also ate a lot of treats so cold turkey is proving to be difficult for him as well.

I finally got hubs to stop feeding them food or treats. Yay! It only took 13 years. Chico only gets a tiny treat when he gets his pain killer. Oh, I'm pretty sure that's another reason he's eating better. It doesn't hurt so much to get around.

You know, the vet didn't order any bloodwork. She just said we'd have to do it before he can get another 2 weeks of pain meds. I am anticipating doing that in the next week or so. I've been concerned that there may be other medical issues. This vet is so weird. I can't seem to find a good one that doesn't charge a fortune to see. The clinic I go to is low cost, so I see whatever vet happens to be there that day. I've never see her before. Gotta get that figured out.
 

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Great to hear that you finally got through to the hubby! They can be so stubborn....

Eggs are a great food, just crack it into a bowl, and use it as a meal substitute once in a while.

As your dog gets older, it's going to be important to have a vet that you can rely on. I know how it is--you can go for years if they are healthy when young, never seeing a vet or thinking about it much. But as they get older, ka-ching!! Start saving up now! A vet you can trust is irreplaceable, and will save you money in the long run.
 

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Hia, i would try a canned food the highest quality you can afford to buy, one that is specifically for oldies or a 'lighter' version too. offer small meals as a bowlful can look over whelming and maybe warm it up a little too . If you think they are holding out for 'human' food, try offering it from a plate like you would use for a meal...dogs think you are putting a bit of your leftovers down for them and scoff it up :) hahaha, hope he feels better soon and you are able to get him treated x
 

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Great to hear that you finally got through to the hubby! They can be so stubborn....

Eggs are a great food, just crack it into a bowl, and use it as a meal substitute once in a while.

As your dog gets older, it's going to be important to have a vet that you can rely on. I know how it is--you can go for years if they are healthy when young, never seeing a vet or thinking about it much. But as they get older, ka-ching!! Start saving up now! A vet you can trust is irreplaceable, and will save you money in the long run.

That is so true!
Shadow was sooo healthy until around a month before his 16th birthday, then he made up for lost time by needing multiple trips to the vet for the last 2 years of his life.
 
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